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Archive for the ‘Lebanon’ Category

The enigma generator

Posted by Charles II on May 11, 2008

This is a story that has been percolating around for a few weeks, but it’s starting to look serious. Ferry Biederman, Andrew England, and Heba Saleh in the FT:

Fierce clashes involving rockets and heavy machine guns erupted in Lebanon on Sunday between pro-government forces and opposition gunmen in mountains east of Beirut. At the same time Arab foreign ministers held an emergency meeting in an effort to find a solution to the worsening crisis.

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Posted in Department of Injustice, israel, Lebanon, world news | 9 Comments »

Wars and rumors of wars

Posted by Charles II on March 1, 2008

Via Johnny Wendell of KTLK, a report from Haaretz:

Saudi Arabia and Kuwait on Saturday called on their citizens living in Lebanon to leave the country as soon as possible, a Lebanese television report said.


Future Television, privately owned by Saad Hariri who heads the majority anti-Syrian bloc in parliament, said Saudi Arabia had advised its nationals to leave Lebanon “as soon as possible.”


Also, AP on Haaretz:

A U.S. deployment of warships off Lebanon sharpened tensions in the crisis-ridden nation as the Shiite militant group Hezbollah said it won’t be intimidated, and the U.S.-backed government that the ships may be intended to bolster distanced itself from the move.


The planned deployment of three ships, announced Thursday, appeared to be aimed at making an American show of strength at a time of increasing international frustration at the volatile political deadlock in Lebanon between the pro-Western government of Prime Minister Fouad Siniora and the opposition, led by Hezbollah.


My assessment is that this is in the category of hissy kabuki. Let’s recall the brilliant outcome the last time US warships deployed off the coast of Lebanon. 243 Marines gave their lives in one of the most pointless deployments of the Cold War.

But of course the pop in oil prices could have been a sign that some people take it seriously. Maybe I should too, but at this point I’m just too d–ned cynical.

Posted in hissy kabuki, israel, Lebanon, Syria | Comments Off on Wars and rumors of wars

Report: Bushco instigated chaos in Lebanon

Posted by Charles II on November 24, 2007

Karim Makdisi, The Guardian, opines that the US is the instigator in leading Lebanon down the path toward civil war:

However, in light of the failure of the US-backed Israeli war to destroy Hizbullah last year, the US has for now shifted its strategy away from a military solution to co-opting the Lebanese state itself to pursue these tasks on its behalf - much as it has done in Palestine with Abu Mazen's recent declaration of war against Hamas.


By recognising March 14's disputed claims to executive authority... the US appears to believe it has accomplished the first stage of this strategy which has focused on removing the Resistance's official cloak of state legitimacy it enjoyed under President Lahoud.


The second phase of US strategy is to create what the Pentagon calls a "strategic alliance" with the Lebanese army - the only state institution that enjoys broad support from all Lebanese communities, regardless of sect or class - by transforming it into a force that would confront, rather than support, the Resistance. US military aid has been rising exponentially, as has the EU's; while March 14 has been working hard to instal officers loyal to its cause in a bid to reverse the army's pro-Resistance sympathies.


Posted in Lebanon | 9 Comments »

Another one bites the dust?

Posted by Charles II on November 24, 2007

Clancy Chassay, The Guardian:

Lebanon was again plunged into uncertainty yesterday after parliament failed in a fifth attempt to elect a president, and the former Syrian backed-president Emile Lahoud, whose term ended at midnight, passed control of the security services over to the army, declaring a state of emergency.

The US-backed government of Fouad Siniora rejected the declaration. "It is as if the statement was never issued," said Siniora. The constitution says a president cannot call a state of emergency without government approval, but Lahoud and the Hizbullah-led opposition view the cabinet as unconstitutional following the walk out of its Shia ministers last year.

Fisk, The Independent: Darkness falls on the Middle East.

It sounds as if civil war is not far off.

Posted in Conflict in the Middle East, Lebanon | Comments Off on Another one bites the dust?

UN Defines Shebaa Farms

Posted by Charles II on October 31, 2007

In its endless dilation of the key sources of conflict in the Middle East, the UN has at last defined the Shebaa Farm area. Barak Ravid, Haaretz:

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Posted in israel, Lebanon, Syria | Comments Off on UN Defines Shebaa Farms

Buying the bull

Posted by Charles II on February 3, 2007

Via  As’ad, the AP reports

A few years ago, American aid to Lebanon was measured in the number of dairy cows a U.S. program gave to needy farmers. Now it is in the hundreds of millions of dollars, plus military help, as Washington tries to prop up a government seen as threatened by Iran and Syria….

Last week, the United States pledged US$770 million dollars in aid for Lebanon at a Paris donors’ conference that raised a total of US$7.6 billion. The money is on top of US$230 million Washington pledged at a meeting on reconstruction after the Hezbollah-Israel summer war.That’s a massive increase over the annual US$35 million that the United States was giving Lebanon up until 2005 ….

Meanwhile, in Afghanistan, things are working out equally brilliantly:

British strategy in Afghanistan suffered a blow when the Taliban overran a town in northern Helmand where a controversial peace deal had been signed.

Hundreds of insurgents stormed into Musa Qala on Thursday night, disarming the local police, burning government buildings and threatening elders, officials and residents said.

The Taliban offensive appeared to catch troops off guard just two days before Britain hands control of Nato forces in Afghanistan to an American, General Dan McNeill….

 After a summer of fighting that claimed several British fatalities, British forces and the Taliban agreed to withdraw from the town centre. In return, elders said they would guarantee security through a locally recruited tribal police force.

Posted in Afghanistan, Lebanon | Comments Off on Buying the bull

 
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